'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Review: Jane Eyre - A Retelling

Charlotte Bronte’s immortal classic, Jane Eyre, is resurrected by Carnegie Medal winner, Tanya Landman. Her powerful retelling has remained true to the original, while presenting the story in a simple, accessible style that beckons new readers of a younger age.

Barrington Stoke Teen books assure us that their publications are tested for children and young people by children and young people. I found the prose and storyline in this title clear and succinct, making it more readable for its audience than the language of the classic edition.

Jane Eyre’s feelings of not being loved or wanted, and not belonging anywhere, are perfectly encapsulated in the simple prose. Her torturous life, the reminded charity of her Aunt and the demonic cruelty of Cousin John at Gatehead, are recalled.

 The endless physical bullying and her courageous confronting of John, see Jane sent to Lowood, the charity school for orphans. Although deprived of everything, her time there secures her an education which leads to a position as governess at Thornfield Hall, the isolated home of the surly and broody Mr Rochester. It also gives birth to other unexpected emotions.

But mystery surrounds Rochester. A secret withheld from Jane about the unrevealed resident at Thornton Hall threatens their lives. It is Jane’s resilience, faith, love and charity – all the things that were never shown to her, that draw her to the astonishing climax.

Jane Eyre is my all-time favourite piece of classic literature. Reading it again without the stilted Victorian English gave me great pleasure.

Even if you have read Jane Eyre, this edition will delight. I’m convinced that young readers who have avoided approaching any works of literature, now will embrace them and perhaps reach for the originals for comparison. I’m hoping that other classic titles will follow in a similar vein so that the beauty of those writings reaches a wider audience.

Themes of love, bullying, poverty and personal restoration are plaited together in this moving retelling.

Title: Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre: A Retelling
Author: Tanya Landman
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $14.99
Publication Date: February 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781781129128
For ages: 11+
Type: Fiction